Frequently Asked Questions

Social Work

  • 1. What is the difference between Social Work and Sociology?

    While Sociology studies the conditions of the social lives of humans, groups and societies, Social Work seeks to address the social, emotional, cognitive, psychological and economic conditions that affect individuals, families, and groups. It strives to enhance the well being of individuals, families and community groups by active interventions as well as advocating for positive changes in social policies and at societal levels.

    Another way of looking at it, is that while Sociology deals with understanding society, Social Work focuses on making positive social changes and problem solving interventions in society.

  • 2. What is the difference between Social Work and Psychology?

    Psychology is the study of human mental processes and behavior.

    Social Work, on the other hand, is dedicated to helping people resolve problems in their daily lives. This may include direct help in the form of case work, group work, counseling and referral to resources or advocacy to improve social, psychological, emotional or economic conditions.

  • 3. What is the difference between Social Work and Counselling?

    Counselling focuses on helping people with personal, family, educational, career issues through individual, couples, family, or group therapy.

    Social Work is a profession dedicated to helping people resolve problems in their daily lives. This may include direct help in the form of case/group work counselling and referral to resources or advocacy to improve social or economic conditions.

  • 4. Is there any core emphasis in Social Work absent in the other disciplines?

    The social work profession emphasises social justice and advocacy issues and works to change both individuals and the systems that affect them.

  • 5. Can I be a counsellor after obtaining a basic degree in Social Work?

    With a basic degree in Social Work, one can expect to find work in various capacities, generally in the area of social services, health services, correctional services, family services, child and youth work. Positions will inevitably involve some aspects of counselling. However, a social worker does not call him/herself a counsellor. For example, clinical counselling is generally not performed by social workers with only a bachelor's degree. The basic degree instead equips social work graduates to be a generalist practitioner.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Dean's Office, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences National University of Singapore

  • Add: The Shaw Foundation Building, Block AS7, Level 5
  • 5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570
  • Tel: +65 6516 6133
  • Email: fashelp@nus.edu.sg
  • Fax: +65 6777 0751
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